RAM Review


With the many combinations of RAM out there on the market, it is pretty hard to choose what kind you should go out and buy. There are so many brands out there, some of which are Corsair, OCZ, Geil, Kingston, Transcend, TwinMos, Crucial, and many more. For those who don’t know, there is a lot to be picky about when choosing which RAM to buy. You have the choice of either getting Dual Channel RAM (a pair of RAM sticks for your Dual Channel motherboard) or single channel, Low Memory Timing (e.g. 2-3-2-6) or Higher Memory Timing (e.g. 3-4-4-8), and whether you want a JEDEC approved Memory Speed (e.g. DDR333, DDR400) or a memoery stick that is not JEDEC approved (e.g. DDR466, DDR500).

Today, we take a look at two different kinds of RAM. We have the Corsair TwinX1024-3200LLPro (1GB DDR400 Dual Channel Kit) and the Transcend TS64MLD64V5F (512MB DDR500). We’ll go into more depth of these two modules in the next two pages….

Corsair TwinX1024-3200LLPRO Dual Channel Kit

Corsair is a very highly recognized company for their very overclockable and reliable RAM. The TwinX1024-3200LLPRO holds strongly to that reputation. The kit consists of two 512MB sticks of Extra Low Latency PC3200 (DDR400).

Insert "Corsair Front.jpg"

The TwinX1024-3200LLPRO is a Dual Channel Memory Kit. For those who don’t know, Dual Channel architecture requires 2 sticks of (preferably) identical RAM sticks and are installed on two independent RAM channels on the motherboard. By installing RAM on 2 independent slot channels (instead of installing 2 sticks on 2 shared slots), the maximum bandwidth is doubled to 6.4GB/s (rather than 3.2GB/s on regular non Dual-Channel Boards). Only a few chipset motherboards support Dual Channel Architecture. The most popular AMD chipset that supports Dual Channel Architecture is the Nvidia nForce2 Series chipset. There are also other chipsets that supports Dual Channel for Intel systems as well. More information about Dual Channel Architecture can be found here: http://www.houseofhelp.com/forums/showthread.php?s=4eb3e971130ca34e36fa3fab1248ce30&threadid=10156

The heatspreaders of the sticks are quite unique and is different than any other kind of RAM on the market. On top of the heatspreader is a series of LED lights which light up to show activity of the RAM. They look pretty cool when they are working correctly but when they aren’t they, can be quite annoying. I’ll go into details of that in the overclocking section of the review.

Each stick has an impressive Low CAS Latency of 2 (or 2.0, whichever you prefer). CAS Latency stands for Column Address Strobe Latency and it indicates how many cycles it takes for data to appear on the pins on the RAM. In short, the lower the CAS Latency, the more of a performance boost you will receive. Also, there is also a thing called timing. It is usually expressed in a series of numbers in the format of x-x-x-x. Like CAS Latency, the lower the number, the better the performance. The timing for the Corsair TwinX1024-3200LLPRO is 2-3-2-6, which is very low (thereby increasing performance). However, that does not mean that memory with CAS Latency 2 is 33% faster than CAS Latency 3. There are many factors that affect the performance of RAM and CAS Latency is just one of the factors that affect the performance of RAM.

More details about CAS Latency and Memory Timing can be found here: http://www.corsairmicro.com/main/trg-cas.html/ .

When overclocking, I was limited by my FSB and motherboard to overclock any more than 221.8MHz at a CAS Latency of 2 and a timing of 2-3-2-6. This was nonetheless very impressive, since I was able to keep the timing the same as it was when not overclocked. Also, no additional voltage was required. For those who are willing to overclock their FSB in synchronization with their RAM, the Corsair TwinX1024-3200LLPRO leaves a lot of headroom for overclocking.

The only bad thing with overclocking with the TwinX1024-LLPro (at least when not adding additional voltage) is that the LED lights are easily screwed up. When you do overclock, the lights do not illuminate as much and do not show as much activity as before. The only time it ever illuminates all its lights is when it is under heavy load (e.g. games, benchmarks, etc.) but other than that, the lights are relatively idle and only the first 2 LEDs light up.

Transcend TS64MLD64V5F 512MB DDR500

Transcend was first established in 1988 and was known for making printer drivers and protection software. In the past 3 years, Transcend has developed greatly and has since introduced to the market their line of DDR RAM and ATI Graphics cards. They are also well known for their line of portable storage devices, such as their USB Jetflash. Lily of TranscendUSA was kind enough to send to us the TS64MLD64V5F 512MB PC4000 DDR500 Stick of Memory.

Just by seeing PC4000 and DDR500, you’re probably thinking "Damn, that’s fast!" Unfortunately, not many boards will actually be able to detect the stock speed of 500MHz DDR (or 250MHz, whatever you prefer). DDR500 is not JEDEC approved and therefore it is not standard for a motherboard to detect a stock speed of 500MHz, as far as memory goes. JEDEC stands for the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council and is the semiconductor engineering standardization body of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA), a trade association that represents all areas of the electronics industry. In short, they are the ones who make the decision of what becomes a standard as far as electronics are concerned.

My Gigabyte nForce2 Ultra400 motherboard only managed to detect 400MHz DDR when first installed. In most boards, users would have to overclock the module manually to achieve 500mhz DDR (if that is even possible).

As far as overclocking went, I was only able to set it to 221.8MHz with a stable CAS Latency of 3 (with a timing of 3-4-4-8). I was unable to run with stability at any higher timings because I would experience random system reboots when running.

The reason why I was not able to increase the speed to 250MHz (which is equivalent to 500MHz DDR) was because my system would not boot with that setting. I switched between FSB of 166MHz and 200MHz but the closest I could get to 250MHz was 221.8MHz. This is most likely the fault of my motherboard/FSB, not the RAM. However, the fact that it could not run stably at a timing of 2.5-4-3-7 was quite a disappointment, since the Corsair TwinX1024-3200LLPRO managed to surpass even 2.5-4-3-7 and ran stably at a timing of 2-3-2-6 @ 221.8MHz.

Test Setup


AMD Athlon XP 2800+ Barton


Gigabyte GA-7N400 Pro2 nForce2 Ultra 400

Graphics Card

XFX GeForceFX 5900

Hard Drive

Western Digital 200GB w/ 8 MB Cache


Corsair TwinX1024-3200LLPRO 1GB PC3200 Dual Channel

Transcend PC4000 512MB (Overclocked to 222MHz)

Patriot PC3200 512MB


Ahanix dboX


CoolerMaster Aero 7 Lite HSF

CoolerMaster 80mm LED Fan (TLF-R82)

Colorful 120mm Fan

Enermax WS-8SLFS

Operating System

Windows XP Professional w/ Service Pack 1

Power Supply

Allied 400W PSU w/ Bottom Intake

Gaming Benchmarks:

Halo - timedemo (No Vsync), Refresh Rate 60hz

3DMark2001 SE – Default Settings

3DMark03 (Build 340) - Default Settings

Aquamark 3 – High Quality Preset Setting

Unreal Tournament 2003 – HardOCP UT2K3 Benchmark Utility

OpenGL Rendering Engine

High Quality Setting

System/RAM Benchmarks:

PCMark2002 – Default Settings

PCMark04 – System and Memory Benchmarks Selected

SiSoftware Sandra Standard 2004 – Memory Bandwidth Benchmark

Gaming Benchmarks


There was an increase of 7 points between the Corsair TwinX and the Transcend DDR500 (which we were only able to OC to 222MHz, rather than the ideal 250MHz). I expected more from the TwinX, since it had twice as much RAM as Transcend, had a lower latency, and was Dual Channel (as opposed to the Transcend DDR500, which was single channel).

3DMark2001 SE:

Scores were a bit awkward in this situation. The Transcend DDR500 scored 36 points less than the standard non-overclocked 512MB DDR400. The 512MB DDR400 had a timing of 3-3-3-8 as opposed to Transcend’s timing of 3-4-4-8, which probably led to Transcend’s decrease in performance. But keeping in mind, 36 points is very meager and is just a 0.26% decrease in performance/score. The Corsair TwinX comes in the lead again with 14018.

Aquamark 3:

Again, the results show only a small difference in performance between all 3 RAM modules tested.


Strangely, the performance of the Corsair TwinX fell back when benchmarking at 1280x1024. The Transcend DDR500 was able to draw 0.3 more frames per second than TwinX while the greatest surprise was the the 512MB DDR400 outperformed the Corsiar TwinX and the Transcend DDR500.

When testing at 1024x768, results changed back to what they typically were in other benchmarks: the Corsair TwinX1024-3200LLPro leading, while the Transcend DDR500 is close behind and the 512MB DDR400 ending up last.

Unreal Tournament 2003:


In most of the gaming benchmarks, the Corsair TwinX came in lead with the highest scores/FPS. However, the increase was nothing dramatic and was a small disappointment to see how the TwinX (which had 1GB of RAM and a low timing of 2-3-2-6) only beat the Transcend 512MB DDR500 by about 1% (or less) in terms of score/FPS. Overall, impact all gaming was not much. For increase of performance in gaming, getting a high end video card would increase graphics much more significantly than getting high end RAM.

System/RAM Benchmarks

Sandra Standard 2004:




Corsair came in first in all 3 system/RAM benchmarks. Transcend came in second (in most benchmarks) and its score was very close to those of Corsair TwinX.

Overclocked Results

I was only able to overclock both the Transcend DDR500 and Corsair TwinX1024-3200LLPRO to 222MHz. I even changed my FSB to 200MHz and tried to overclock a little more from there but my system would not even boot. Finally I just settled at 222MHz and concluded that it would give us a clue as to how much performance would be gained by overclocking. I had the option of OCing my FSB in 1MHz increments and thereby increasing my RAM Speed but doing so would bias the review somewhat, since the RAM module that could overclock better would have a higher CPU speed (due to the increase of FSB) than that of the RAM that is less capable of overclocking (which would have a slower CPU speed since the FSB would be lower). However, I will try to tinker with the FSB and RAM speed to see what is the maximum MHz rating I can get out of the RAM and update the review (but I will not benchmark these speeds, since their difference in FSB would bias would somewhat bias the review).


It was quite disappointing to say that there was no overall increase in performance in 3DMark03 when overclocking the Corsair TwinX 22MHz more.

Sandra Standard 2004:

After overclocking, there was a noticeable bandwidth increase of the Corsair TwinX. There was an increase of 35MB/s on the Int. Test and an increase of 33MB/s on the Float test of Sandra 2004.


Although there was no increase on the CPU portion of the PCMark02 test, there was a somewhat noticeable increase of score on the Memory portion. The Corsair TwinX scored 89 points higher when overclocked to 222MHz. Although there wasn’t a significant increase in score, it’s at least a small improvement.


In almost all the benchmarks, the Corsair TwinX1024-3200LLPro came up on top, but not by much. The Transcend 512MB DDR500 came in very close to the Corsair TwinX and nonetheless performed excellently, considering that the Transcend module only had 512MB of RAM, had a somewhat high timing (3-4-4-8), and was single channel. However, I expected a little more from the Corsair TwinX, since it costs around $290 while the Transcend 512MB DDR500 is about $150 (and the performance of the TwinX-1024-3200LLPro did not really justify its price).

Although the Corsair TwinX costs almost twice as much as the Transcend DDR500, keep in mind that you get 2 sticks (as opposed to 1) of 512MB of RAM, which are also low latency and have cool looking LED lights. The Corsair was able to overclock to 222MHz just like the Transcend however, the Corsair TwinX managed to run at a lower timing of 2-3-2-6 while the Transcend DDR500 was only able to run at 3-4-4-8. This leaves more potential head room for overclocking for the Corsair TwinX than the Transcend DDR500. For those who find that the TwinX1024 is too expensive, users with a lower budget can opt out of the 1GB kit and could either go 512MB: either the CMX512-3200LLPro (which is actually same 512MB stick used in the TwinX1024-3200LLPro Kit) or the TwinX512-3200LLPro, which just two sticks of 256MB DDR400 with the specifications (CAS Latency, Heat Spreader, LED Lights, timing, etc.) of the TwinX1024-3200LLPro.

Corsair TwinX1024-3200LLPro 1GB DDR400 Dual Channel Kit



SLRating: 9/10

Transcend TS64MLD64V5F DDR500 512MB



SLRating: 8/10

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